Don’t allow water bills to make an April Fool of your finances.
That’s the advice from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) which is urging cash-strapped households to take action now and stay one step ahead of rising water bills.
April 1 will trigger an increase in many household bills and water is no exception with the average annual water and sewerage bill set to rise by £6 across England and Wales1. That’s no laughing matter for customers who are already struggling to pay, but CCWater has some top tips to help people soak up valuable savings.
Andy White, CCWater’s billing and charges expert, said: “April can be a daunting time, particularly for households struggling to make ends meet, which is why it’s important to grab every opportunity to save money.”
“We’ve worked with water companies to make sure there are now more ways than ever before to stop water bills from draining your finances, particularly if you’re on a low income.”
CCWater’s top money-saving tips:
Test the water with a meter – For many households the most effective way to cut their water bills is to opt to have a water meter installed free of charge. If your property has more bedrooms than people living in it there’s a particularly good chance you might save money on a meter. It won’t benefit everyone but some people can save more than £100 a year. In most cases you’ll also have up to two years to switch back to unmeasured charges if you change your mind2. Use our popular water meter calculator at www.ccwater.org.uk to find out how much, if anything, you might save.
Apply for a lower tariff – From April 1, every water company will be able to offer a reduced social tariff for eligible low-income customers. Some of these tariffs can slash bills by more than 80 per cent. Find out if you’re likely to qualify for help and how to apply by using CCWater’s social tariff guide.
Fish for some freebies – Most water companies will offer you free devices that can help you reduce the water you use – ideal for saving money if you’re a metered customer. Check your water company’s website for more details.
Soak-away savings – If you have a soak-away in your garden, which drains all the surface water from your property back into the earth, you can apply to have surface water drainage charges removed from your bills. This can typically save you about £35 a year. You might also be eligible for a refund of some charges you’ve already paid.
Sign up to WaterSure – if you’re already a metered customer but have high usage due to a large family or medical condition, and also receive income-related benefits, the WaterSure scheme could help. It limits the amount you’re charged and is available in England and Wales.
Boost your income – Check to see if your income could be boosted by using the Benefits Calculator and Grants Search Tool on our website. Since partnering with poverty relief charity Turn2Us to launch the tools in January 2016, consumers have identified annual welfare benefit entitlements of more than £5 million.
Visit www.ccwater.org.uk for more water and money saving tips.
For more information or to arrange an interview with CCWater’s Andy White, please call the media team on 0121 345 1005.
1 Average bills vary across England and Wales and what customers actually end up paying will depend on each customer’s individual circumstances. You can compare average annual bills for each water company at Discover Water
2 Some water companies in the South East of England are rolling out universal metering programmes. Customers of these companies do not have the option to switch back to unmeasured charges. Always check with your water company before switching.